Canned Meat

6 June 2012 | 8:00 am | Brendan Telford

Brendan Telford sorts through the shit with guitarist Lindsay McDougall to divine how punk legends Frenzal Rhomb are still pulling the wool over our eyes.

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It seems like eons ago when punk stalwarts and general slack rabblerousers Frenzal Rhomb last bothered to grace the world with new material. Despite guitarist Lindsay McDougall's laconic assertion that they have been frenetically releasing albums and headlining shows with Silverchair and Powderfinger, the reason for this is much easier to ascertain.

“We've just been sitting on our arses for five years,” McDougall laughs. “And we probably would have stayed on the couch, except the opportunity popped up for us to record with Bill Stevenson from The Descendents. That was pretty much it!”

Entering the ARIA charts at #14, Smoko At The Pet Food Factory showcases Frenzal Rhomb's evergreen penchant of flinging shit at people, places and the world in general, showcasing frontman Jay Whalley's endless ability to latch onto annoyance and malcontent with a devilish glint in the eye. McDougall maintains that the endless dearth of societal mores will continue to fuel the fires.

“As long as we are living and breathing there are things that piss us off, or things that upset us or things that make us go, 'That is so stupid!' Whether it be footballers getting off sexual assault charges, or seeing a young girl OD in a fast food carpark because her boyfriend doesn't wanna call the cops because he's carrying heroin. Sure, those are two extreme cases, but they are pretty much of the same pool of shit that pisses us off. And of course birds attacking, that sucks too.”

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The band managed to release Smoko… on record courtesy US punk label Fat Wreck.

“This was mainly because the cover art is so good and looks great blown up in twelve-inch form,” MacDougall claims. “They have been selling really well at shows; we have run out a few times. In fact the label sent me fourteen copies, and the only time I have become involved with the actual sale of the album is when one of my records has been snuck on the merch desk because I needed money to grab a drink after the show. That's the cottage industry of Frenzal Rhomb boiled down for you.”

The band are embarking on a mammoth two-show run to once again showcase the new material to their fans north of the border, yet some things will never change.

“We have never cared about growing a fanbase, but we are constantly amazed when people get annoyed when we don't do all ages shows. When we do, like at the Big Day Out, so many kids turn up! We played Livid back in 1999 when The Offspring and Less Than Jake toured, and Jay had broken his arm. We were going through a stage of introducing every song with, 'This is a love song!' and everyone loved it. We totally ripped that off; we stole it from Chixdiggit who we were on tour with in the States. Yet people remember that. And that is the beauty of what we do. We don't care about the other stuff, getting in the right crowds, the right magazines, the right endorsements; it's always about having a good time.

“And no matter what era, young kids love dickheads swearing with their shirts off; it's a universal constant. Kids love jumping on us, and old blokes watch on remembering when they were doing the same thing. The kids love it, the adults love it – we are a guilty pleasure, and at some stage someone will throw up during it. We are the jumping castle of punk rock.”